Wolves in the Throne Room's Aaron Weaver: 5 Great Pacific Northwest Metal Bands | Revolver

Wolves in the Throne Room's Aaron Weaver: 5 Great Pacific Northwest Metal Bands

Black-metal drummer hails Seattle grunge-metal royalty, Portland "intense d-beat hardcore" and more
wolves in the throne room -aaron_1c4a2711-bydreaminggod-web-crop-2.jpg, Dreaming God
Aaron Weaver
photograph by Dreaming God

Revolver has teamed with Wolves in the Throne Room for a limited-edition splatter vinyl variant of Primordial Arcana. Quantities are limited, so order yours now before they're gone! 

When the second wave of black-metal bands emerged from Norway in the Nineties, they codified the extreme-music form into a distinct genre with characteristics unique to the region. From Mayhem's ice-cold blasphemy and Burzum's bleak ambience to Emperor's grandeur and Immortal's vicious pummeling, their sound and vision reflected the region's epic cultural history and stunning natural landscape (in all its brutal and sublime dichotomies).

As the style spread and evolved through the globe, new creators were imbuing the sounds with the energy of their own regions. In the Pacific Northwest of the United States, Wolves in the Throne Room have been cultivating their own black-metal aesthetic — which includes channeling the energy of Washington's ancient forests — since they first formed in 2003.

This spirit is alive and well on their latest full-length, Primordial Arcana — as heard on the triumphant lead single "Mountain Magick."

Primordial Arcana, their first for new label Relapse Records, is also the trio's most DIY effort to date. Brothers Nathan and Aaron Weaver (guitar/vocals and drum/bass/synth, respectively) and guitarist/vocalist Kody Keyworth handled all aspects of the record's creation. They not only wrote and performed the material, but they also recorded, produced and mixed the album at their Owl Lodge Studios located in the woods of Washington state.

Wolves in the Throne Room's latest album proves the crew are still leading the PNW black-metal pack. But, as Aaron Weaver points out, they aren't the only stellar metal outfit to hail from the region. Below, Weaver picks five of the area's most outstanding bands.

Burning Witch

I saw Burning Witch play at a tiny jazz club in Olympia, Washington, in 2002 with a queer hardcore band called Behead the Prophet No Lord Shall Live and a black-metal band from Port Townsend called Darkenwood — so the audience was half punk and half metalheads. A huge brawl broke out and metalheads in armor and chains battled punks with 40oz bottles into the night.       

Velvet Cacoon

Bizarre, lo-fi black metal from Oregon. Velvet Cacoon released a few interviews that were very strange and were later revealed to be fictitious, but are excellent reading. Listening to this record makes me yearn for the days when underground music could be much more shrouded and mysterious.  

Blood Incantation

Blood Incantation is based in Colorado, but we know their guitar player Paul [Riedl] from the local Northwest black-metal scene. We love what this band is doing. It was excellent to join them at the Fire in the Mountains festival in Jackson, Wyoming, for an epic psychedelic Rocky Mountain heavy-metal journey.       

Alice in Chains

It is impossible to pick between Nirvana and Alice in Chains as our favorite band from the grunge era, but Alice in Chains is certainly the more "metal" of the two. Jerry Cantrell is one of my favorite guitarists and is a proper Pacific Northwest lad.     


Uncompromising, intense d-beat hardcore! Tragedy are metal/punk mainstays based in Portland.  Back in the day we were huge fans of His Hero is Gone, which was the band that preceded Tragedy. We've had the pleasure of playing shows with Tragedy a few times and it's always transcendental.